If you ever wondered whether music could help protect your health, consider the life of Maria von Trapp - "Louisa" in "The Sound of Music."
The last of the singing von Trapp children, she passed away this year at 99, more than three-quarters of a century after fleeing Nazi-occupied Austria.
But you don't have to be a world-famous talent to let music soothe the savage beasts of anxiety, pain and depression, and fill you with a feeling of wellness and energy. A recent study out of the United Kingdom shows that singalongs can ease physical discomfort and psychological distress in folks 65 and older who are receiving nursing care for ailments from dementia to heart disease. Premature babies seem to breathe, feed and sleep better to lullabies or soothing ocean sounds. Cancer patients report less nausea and lower blood pressure after chemotherapy when they listen to classical tunes.
If you're feeling stressed, are recuperating post-op or making a push to get healthier:
Set aside 10 minutes daily for singing, playing or listening to music that calms you. (No angry lyrics or aggressive rhythms.)
Let your mind and breathing follow the melody or drift into the sounds, putting aside specific worries or thoughts.
To change a behavior or accomplish a goal such as quitting smoking, tell yourself, "My urge to breathe freely is enhanced by the notes."
You'll be amazed at how much more energy and focus you have!
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.